Friday Happy Hour: The Old Fashioned

This week we’re all about a classic cocktail.  The Old Fashioned is, as the name suggests, an old fashioned drink.  It’s pretty much the oldest cocktail around, one of the most simple cocktail recipes – and one of the best.  This is my version of the Old Fashioned, and here’s why I love it: this creates a layered drink that starts out bracingly crisp from the bitters, gets warmer and spicier as you make your way through the rye, and finishes with sweetness and spice and fruit.  It’s delicious and refreshing, simple and classic.

Read below for the full recipe!

The Old Fashioned

2 oz Whiskey, Brandy, or Jenever (we used rye whiskey)
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Dash Water
Cherry and Slice of Orange for Garnish


In an Old Fashioned glass (it’s telling that it gets its own glass), muddle the syrup, a thin orange slice, and a cherry.  Add your spirit of choice – I’m partial to rye whiskey, which gives this drink a nice spiciness.  Add a good dose of ice and then top with the water and bitters.  Give it a gentle stir to chill it a bit and enjoy.

This is not the most authentic Old Fashioned.  The first, oldest cocktails from the turn of the 19th Century were made with just spirits, bitters, sugar, and water – all you need for a true cocktail.  Ice probably didn’t even make its appearance in cocktails until the 1830s.  But authenticity isn’t all its cracked up to be.  You can reproduce a 200+ year old cocktail, or you can make your own version.

Where did the Old Fashioned get its name?  The best guess is this: when drinkers in the 90s – the 1890s – got tired of all the fancy, complicated, modern cocktails and just wanted something simple, they asked their bartenders for an old fashioned cocktail, the sort of thing that Americans would have been drinking in 1850.  In other words, this drink has staying power.

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

{happy weekend!}

Happy Friday everyone!  This weekend I’m looking forward to breaking out the holiday decorations and putting up our Christmas tree, and to helping my Mom celebrate her birthday on Sunday.  Plus, my Dad and step-mom are in Mexico this weekend to attend a wedding, and my 70 year-old Dad got to use his passport for the very first time!  Yay Dad!  We’ve also been dying to see the new Muppets movie.  Have any of you seen it?  But in the meantime…

…a few links for your weekend!

This week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

On a personal note, if you follow me on twitter or instagram, you may have seen that we recently welcomed a foster cat, Simon, into our home.  We’ve been working with an organization called Homeward Trails over the last couple of weeks (through our friend Leah, the talented photographer who took the photos below) to rescue a few homeless cats in our neighborhood.  We think Simon was abandoned by his previous owners; he’s incredibly social and was living with a colony of cats in an alley.  When we first met Simon he practically jumped into our arms, and now that he’s indoors he loves nothing more than to curl up in someone’s lap and rub his head on their chin.  He’s incredibly well-behaved, affectionate, and playful.  We’re hoping to find a home for him soon to make room for a couple of other needy cats before it gets really cold.  So if any readers in the Mid-Atlantic area are looking to adopt a cat – please consider Simon!

There are an estimated 50,000 stray and feral cats here in Washington, DC.  Some of the stray alley cats are some of the sweetest cats you’ll ever meet and it breaks my heart to think about these cats trying to brave the winter outdoors.  If you’re not looking to adopt, but have a spare room or even a basement, please consider fostering rescue animals.  You can also donate to Homeward Trails here to help cover medical costs for rescued cats and dogs.

We’ve got an awesome cocktail recipe coming up a bit later this afternoon, but otherwise that’s it for me this week!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday! xoxo

Photo Credits: Camelia via With This Nest, Simon’s photos by Studio Juno

Pretty Paper in the Office: Inspired by Red

With the holiday season in full swing I, much like everyone else, have been seeing red.  It’s such an infectious colour; it grabs hold of your attention and won’t let go.  Naturally, I thought it best to cultivate my holiday spirit and let the colour of the season be the inspiration.  So while you’re busy decking the halls, don’t forget about spreading some cheer to your workspace.  A little red can go a long way; pair it with gray or winter white for a perfect winter color combination.  I rounded up dashes of this bold hue to bring to life even the most dreary desk.

Red inspired office stationery

No. 1 Little notes, holiday edition by Paper & Type; No. 2 2012 Fleurs des lys day planner by Nauli; No. 3 5 Piece recycled paper pencils by Write With Moxie; No. 4 Action organizing clips by Mateo Ilasco; No. 5 Bespoke boxed correspondence cards by Mr. Boddington’s Studio

Blue Sparrow Press red office inspiration


Artist Heather Smith Jones put her 1930’s era Vandercook press to good use and recently launched Blue Sparrow Press, just in time for this heavy correspondence season.  She offers a simple and classic personalized note set that comes in four different styles and colours.  I love it when you can get custom, professional (and not to mention sophisticated) stationery that will leave your holiday gift budget intact.

{images via their respective sources}

Inspired By: Textile Patterns

Ikat and southwestern patterns have been everywhere in fashion and interior decor for the last couple years; my pinterest boards are full of living and dining rooms with these gorgeous pattern textiles.  It’s so nice to see some of these beautiful patterns make their way into stationery design – from sophisticated ikat wedding invitations to high contrast southwestern pattern cards and notebooks.

No. 1 Assorted note cards from Hero Design Studio; No. 2 Ikaty wedding invitation by Kamal for Bella Figura; No. 3 Ikat wedding invitation from the Claremont Collection by Curious & Co.; No. 4 Ikat flat wood veneer note card from Ink + Wit; No. 5 Leah Duncan pillow cover; No. 6 Magnets from Red Star Ink; No. 7 Ikat letterpress cards from Wild Ink Press

p.s. Susy Jack has an awesome collection of ikat note cards, notebooks, and office accessories.  Check out the collection in her brand new website right here!

Bella Figura and Curious & Co. are mem­bers of the Designer Rolodex – you can see more of their beau­ti­ful work here!

{images via their respective sources}

*Bella Figura is one of my fab­u­lous spon­sors; for more on my edi­to­r­ial poli­cies please click here.

2011 Holiday Card Round Up, Part 9

Yesterday’s holiday card round ups were all about whimsical illustrations and vintage-inspired designs, but today’s holiday cards are all about typography.  From clean and simple to classic and elegant to bright and cheery, there are so many ways to share your holiday sentiments with family and friends.

Red Bird Ink

We Heart Paper

Bespoke Letterpress

Sapling Press

Shed Letterpress

Fourth Year Studio


Headcase Press (left); Dolce Press (right)

Wednesday Inc.

Studio Wicked

Office of Nature

The Iron Curtain Press

The Butter

In case you missed them, check out the earlier holiday card round ups right here!

{images via their respective sources}